Prayer in Parliament – time to get on the front foot

25 May 2015
Glyn Carpenter

Prayer in Parliament – time to get on the front foot

by | May 25, 2015

So often it feels like Christians are on the back foot. Arguing for positions which it seems increasing numbers of people aren’t interested in.

A few years back when Human Rights Commission (HRC) was driving interfaith dialogues, knowing that the next topic scheduled for discussion was Religion in the Workplace, NZ Christian Network called a group of business people and theologians together to talk about the issue. The benefit of the day we spent together was that several months later when HRC brought the different faith leaders together, we were well prepared to contribute – we were on the front foot! – and the end-result was a document which should sit comfortably with most evangelical Christians.

Jump forward a couple of years to the Prayer in Parliament issue that surfaced again(!) before Christmas.  The Speaker of the House invited MPs to consider an alternative prayer. It was an either/or  – vote for the alternative or stick with the current prayer. The alternative prayer updated some archaic language and included some phrases in Maori, which we supported. It also removed the words “Almighty God” and “Jesus Christ our Lord”.

NZ Christian Network and others wrote to MPs, and we were pleased when MPs decided to stick with the current prayer.

But the issue will come back again and pressure to remove the Christian references is increasing.

So it would be good to be prepared and be on the front foot. We have heard views ranging from ‘strive to retain the current prayer’ through to ‘it’s appropriate to change in a society where Christians are a minority’ and even ‘let’s write and ask MPs to stop using the prayer until they can behave like they mean it’.

The audio link is to a 3 minute interview with national director Glyn Carpenter on National Radio Morning Report. We would really like to know if it reflects your position, or if not, what you think we should be saying. Logged in members of the site may join the discussion forum or leave general comments for the public below.

Listen to a 3 minute interview with NZCN National Director, Glyn Carpenter, on National Radio Morning Report

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